After yet another thought-provoking conversation with Riboflavin, I’ve been pondering what my life would be like were I, in fact, a dude. (The Sig Fig can relax–this is entirely hypothetical.)
When I was a kid, I daily wished that I could be a boy. I was utterly convinced there had been some serious mistake; clearly I was meant to be a boy. While being a tomboy can be cute for a few years, once you hit middle school it becomes embarrassing, for everyone involved. Sixth grade was honestly the worst year I can remember, filled as it was with my awkward attempts at hetero “dating” (“going out” would be a better term, but neither one is accurate. Come on. Nobody goes anywhere in sixth grade) and my ritual embarrassment at the hands of Those Two Cool Girls. Luckily for me in high school I found Teen Theatre, which (among other lifesaving things for a dyke growing up in rural southern Oregon) embraced all the ways we grow up female.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t still occasionally think about what my life would be like were I male. I used to think I would be one of those sensitive, really super awkward sweet guys. Very little play, very intense friendships, and terrified of getting someone pregnant. (It’s actually a good thing I’m a homo, because on either end of a heterosexual relationship I would be terrified of unplanned pregnancy above pretty much all else.)
After my conversation with Riboflavin, though, I realize that I’d have a hard time being a straight man because I have a hard time with straight women.
Now, don’t get me wrong–some of my best friends are straight. But I really have a hard time understanding straight women. I feel like we’re from different species. Straight women make me feel like a mutant. A clumsy, ugly, bizarre mutant. Honestly, large groups of straight women make me more uncomfortable on the train than large groups of drunk men do. I don’t understand them, sometimes I can’t communicate with them, and I’m totally not attracted to them.
I mean, some of them are attractive. I recognize that. But I liken it to great art. I can recognize that a Michelangelo is beautiful, but I’d rather look at some random German expressionist any day. And since finally acquiring the language to understand my homo nature (when I was little I definitely had crushes on older girls who were probably straight), I’ve never crushed on, much less attempted to date, a straight woman.
So, gaydar jokes aside, what is it that draws us to our (potential) mates? Do we just happen to have preferences for certain characteristics that other homos (or other heteros, if that’s your thing) happen to embody? I know there are homos who fall for straights every day, just as heteros have their hearts broken by players for the other team. But it seems to me that the majority of us are real gone on people of our orientation. So how do we know?